I hate to lob bad voodoo onto anything as great as going to heaven. But it occurs to me that if I ever do make it past the Pearly Gates, then sometime between St. Peter saying, “That little cloud with the silver lining is yours,” and all my fellow heavenites finally giving up on my ever learning how to play the harp, at least one of the following five people I’ll meet in heaven will try to beat me up.
Steven K. When Steven K. and I were kids, I accidentally beat him up by executing upon him a judo flip I’d never used before and was shocked to discover actually worked. Steve hit the ground like a sack of wet cement tossed off a truck—and before it had begun, our fight was over. Steve went on to become a Major General in the Air Force. I went on to become a guy who generally likes to force major air. I know Steve’s gonna beat me up when he meets me in heaven.
Bob’s dad. Bob was a friend of mine throughout middle and then high school. Bob’s dad had once been a professional football player. It was his heart’s desire that Bob, too, become a professional athlete. But Bob’s dream was to become a dancer on Broadway. Because my father was an actor, I was able to help Bob enter the world that would eventually lead him to becoming a dancer on Broadway. Bob’s dad always made it pretty clear that he hated me for helping his son become a professional dancer instead of a football player. I hope that when I meet Bob’s dad in heaven, he gives me a chance to explain myself before he beats me up.
Brian Q. When I was a kid my best friend Jerry had a brother, Brian, who was as mean as a bagged badger. So one day I tied a piece of wire to some trees on either side of a bike path, and then encouraged Jerry to taunt Brian in such a way as to ensure that (ever predictable) Brian would ride his bike full-speed across the wire. Talk about a perfect plan: five inches higher, and ol’ Brian would have lost his head. While he lay dazed and nearly unconscious on his back, I stood over Brian, and as menacingly as I could, said, “Stop pounding on Jerry all the time. Or fear riding your bike from now on. I’ve got lots of wire.” And it worked! Brian quit beating up Jerry. I’m pretty sure he’ll try to beat me up in heaven, though. Except, wait … harps have wires! So you know what? Never mind.
Master Han. Master Han used to be my Tae-Kwon-Do teacher. If MH really liked you, his way of saying hello was to basically start beating you up. Master Han really, really liked me. And I know he’ll make it into heaven. So I know that one day I’ll be happily floating around up there when, suddenly, I’ll get kicked in the spleen. It sure will be worth it, though, to see ol’ Master Han again.